After 2 red eye flights in a row, we arrived in Osaka at 8:30 in the morning. After organising our rail passes for our Japan adventure we jumped on the train to Osaka Station and then had a 10 minute walk to the hotel. Choosing some where to stay in Osaka was difficult although the Ritz Carlton Osaka’s close proximity to Osaka Station was very handy.
When I saw the entrance I instantly felt that this stay was going to be something really spectacular. The entrance is grand, l felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman when she walked in to the Beverley Wiltshire Hotel and the fact that I looked like I just rolled out of bed was not going to stop me enjoying this moment.
I’m very independent when I travel, I like to get around on public transport and get amongst it with the locals but this was the one time I thought that maybe I should have just booked the hotel limo and felt like royalty on my arrival. It would have been very fitting as the rest of the stay was nothing short of pure luxury.
As I said we were all looking a bit dishevelled after two red eye flights and an 18 hour stop over in Kuala Lumpur where we spent the day on the hop on hop off bus. I was keen to check in quick and get up to the room for a shower. Being the high standard hotel Ritz Carlton Osaka is, I was greeted by Rory the Hotel Manager who was very impressed with Alannah’s Japanese language skills and he made us feel extremely welcome. The check in process was seamless and before we knew it, the Rooms Guest Relations Manager, was escorting us to our room.
We were staying on the 32nd floor and had received an upgrade to a deluxe premier room and corner suite which had the most breath taking view over Osaka. The view engulfs you, commanding your attention and draws you right in. I thought it was lovely during the day but by night it was spellbinding. We were looking out towards the river, over the city and Osaka Station and it was clear enough to see planes taking off and landing at the airport about 50 kms away. It really was a mesmerising view, being a city girl it really did impress me and I spent a fair amount of time sitting in the window while completing my social media commitments. Best seat in the house I think!
There was a very thoughtful welcome gift of a fruit platter and tray of chocolates which after such a long flight we were very thankful for. Alannah jumped straight into the grapes and thoroughly enjoyed the fresh cut up orange. I think I got to sample one of the chocolates, I did choose the one with the gold leaf on top!! It’s these small touches that are the difference between a good hotel and a great hotel. Each night after our beds were turned down we found a small square chocolate for each of us to have with our evening cup of tea that we had Alannah make for us!
The room, what can you say, pure English decadent luxury! We had two double beds and a roll out bed for Alannah. I had a double bed to myself and that bed made me feel like I was floating on a cloud! It was amazingly comfortable, the type of bed you don’t want to drag yourself out off. The room was very spacious, we had three adults and one child and we had plenty of room for all our luggage and of course all our shopping! It was a girls trip remember.
The bathroom products we of the highest standard, Asprey a luxury brand originating from the UK and plenty of them too. The Italian marble double vanity meant that we were able to get ourselves out of the room a little quicker in the morning! The shower was separate from the bath which was fantastic especially for my mother who was with us, it was much easier than her climbing in and out of the bath.
The mahogany desk seated right in the window was a classic touch that complemented the room. A great space for business travellers or anyone else to use when required. I especially love the chaise lounge and found it very comfortable when watching Sky News in the morning on the flat screen TV located in the wardrobe and out of sight when required.
There was a Nespresso coffee machine which was put to good use. It’s always nice to wake up to a good coffee and saves you having to get ready for breakfast to go and have your first ‘get moving’ hit. Better still when the kids are old enough to make it for you! We’re nearly there!
In January 2016 The Ritz Carlton introduced the night camping safari for kids under 9. You are able to have the kids sleep in a specially designed indoor safari tent filled with toys to keep them entertained and comfortable. Alannah was a bit old for this (although I think she would have enjoyed it) but when we return with Keira and Caelan I will definitely be happy to let the kids stay in the safari tent, I’m sure they would find that lots of fun. The package includes camping tent, air mattress, pillows, LED lantern, a mini tote just for them that contains a flashlight, flask, specific kids bath amenities, animal hunting adventure invitation, kids snacks, colouring book and stamp card, kids pyjamas, bathrobe and slippers and just to make them feel at home, two rubber ducks for bath time! What kids wouldn’t love that, memories that last forever.
This is very handy given Osaka would see a steady increase in foreign tourists as Osaka is home to Universal Studios Japan. We loved our visit and the Wizardry World of Harry Potter was a massive hit with Alannah and I’m sure kids of all ages.
The Ritz Carlton Media Team have kindly provided me with some photos to show you just how family friendly they have become.
The buffet breakfast was everything you would expect from a 5* hotel and then some! Breakfast is served on the ground floor at Splendido Restaurant and catered for both the Asian and Western breakfast guests. You could have you eggs anyway including benedict which is my favourite, with bacon, hash browns, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms and other accompaniments that changed each day. The pastries were delicious and was Alannah’s first stop each morning (holiday treat doesn’t happen at home!), yogurt and cereal including granola and every fresh fruit you could imagine. We all enjoyed the biggest bowl of berries you have ever seen compliments of Orianna Tirabassi the Italian head chef who is currently at the hotel. Orianna has been at the hotel for two years now and is obviously loving her time there. The traditional Japanese buffet was also extensive with tofu, rice, sardines, miso soup, raw eggs and various other food that I was not adventurous enough to try (disclaimer: I don’t eat seafood so I found eating in Japan a little difficult which was a shame). This restaurant also serves lunch, an afternoon buffet and dinner.
There are three other restaurants located at the Ritz Carlton Osaka, the french restaurant La Baie, for traditional Japanese there’s Hanagatami and a Chinese restaurant Xiang Tao. All are located on the 5th floor and serve lunch and dinner. Plenty to choose from and I’m certain something for everyone.
The spa and fitness club has a gym, steam and dry saunas (gender specific) and a 25 metre indoor heated lap pool. The gym had qualified instructors there to help anyone that was using the equipment and to assist with a gym routine to suit your ability. This area was spotlessly clean and very well staffed as was the rest of the hotel. It would be a great asset for business travellers who spend a lot of time away from home and don’t get a lot of time for exercise. Pools are always a big hit with kids, my kids love to swim and would happily spend the best part of a day in the pool if they were given the opportunity. I would have loved to have experienced the Ritz Carlton Spa but unfortunately on this occasion our itinerary did not allow for it, we packed a bit into our couple of days in Osaka, the treatments looked fantastic though and I am sure they would be of the highest standard like the rest of the hotel.
By day the Hotel Lobby Bar is more of a sitting room and an elegant place to enjoy the new chocolate high tea recently introduced. In the evening it comes alive and is a great place to sip cocktails and enjoy the ambience. The bar is also finished in dark timber that creates a very opulent setting.
The Gourmet Shop has a great assortment of macarons which are made on site each day. These are a favourite of mine so I was very happy to taste test the salted caramel ones and I have to confess they were awesome, I could have eaten 10! There were other deliciously looking sweet treats to try all looking fabulous, there would definitely be something for everyone. A good range of breads and even teas that you could take home as a souvenir if you wanted to.
I said earlier that all the bathrooms were stocked with Asprey toiletries and there is an Asprey store there to purchase any products that tickled your fancy which is a lovely touch. The hand soap smelt fantastic and had a moisturising effect after use.
A recent initiative undertaken by the Ritz Carlton Osaka is their in-house art tour. It’s free and runs every Wednesday night from 5 pm, just show up in the lobby. The tour runs for an hour and is delivered in both Japanese and English. There are approximately 450 pieces of art on display in the public areas of the hotel. There is also a walking tour of Nakanoshima waterfront which runs on Thursdays from 9 am and Origami lessons held at 4 pm on Tuesdays.
The staff at the Ritz Carlton were of the highest standard I’ve come across, I cannot speak more highly of them. Checking in and out was seamless and the room service was amazing. It has often been said that the staff make a good hotel great and the staff here certainly did that. The concierge assisted us a few times for information regarding getting to places and booked our Universal Studios tickets too. This saved us a great deal of time on arrival and information on how to get there was very handy. I loved that they had maps and information in English making getting around so much easier.
In every part of the hotel we visited the staff were happy to assist with our needs, they had very competent English language skills which surprisingly isn’t always a given in Japan we found out. They were excellent with Alannah and really took the time to engage with her. Her primary school Japanese came in handy a few times and she had fun practising which they thought was wonderful.
Hotels of this standard do not come cheap but at the same time they are often not as expensive as you would think either. If you book well in advance and direct with the hotel during low season you are very likely to find a very reasonable price. I often check the price for the required dates direct with the hotel and then check Agoda.com. Click on the links below to take you directly to the sites:
Direct with the Ritz Carlton Osaka, here.
Direct with Agoda, here.
This will give you the very best price. The taxi driver on the way back from Dotobori said it is the number 1 hotel in town!
Pure indulgence and nothing short of perfect sums up our stay at the Ritz Carlton Osaka. Our room was perfect for a family of 4 or 5 and with plenty of room for all our stuff and our shopping! The best thing for me I think was having the fantastic view, I made sure I took the time to take it in as often as I could. Alannah slept in until after 9am for the first time in ages and I put it down to the most comfortable bed I have slept in for years and not the 40 hour transit to arrive!!
Would I stay there again? In a heartbeat. Traditionally these hotels have not been family friendly and more focused on the business traveller. I can honestly say that the tide has changed and they are strongly throwing their proverbial hat in the ring to be competitive for the family market and I must say doing it well. The safari tent is a great initiative and one that I’m are will attract their target market.
Osaka is a great place to base yourself, we had a day trip to Hiroshima from Osaka using out Japan Rail Passes. Our post on the Japan Rail Pass, it is worth it will help you decide if it is a good value option for your trip. We even stopped in Kyoto for a night on our way through to Tokyo. Unfortunately we only had 24 hours in Kyoto but we certainly made the most of it. Tokyo is definitely a highlight of any trip to Japan, there are so many great things to do in Tokyo with kids.
I am planning on returning in April 2018 and this hotel will be be featuring in my itinerary again. See you then Ritz Carlton Osaka.
Sal & Co.
Disclaimer: We had a mutually beneficial arrangement with the Ritz Carlton Osaka, as always our opinion is our own.